Have you seen but a [whyte]1 Lilie grow before rude hands had touch'd it; Have you mark'd but the fall of the snow before the [Earth]2 hath smucht it. Have you felt the wool of [Beaver]3, Or Swansdown ever; or have smelt of the Bud of the Bryer, Or the Nard in the fire; Or have tasted the Bag of the Bee; O so whyte, O so soft, O so sweet, so sweet, so sweet is she! O so whyte, O so soft, O so sweet, so sweet, so sweet is she!
About the headline (FAQ)View original text (without footnotes)
1 Maconchy: "bright"
2 Maconchy: "soil"
3 Maconchy: "the Beaver"
- by Ben Jonson (1572 - 1637), appears in The Devil's an Ass [author's text not yet checked against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist , "Have you seen but a whyte Lilie grow", 1614 [voice, lute], note: manuscript is in the British Museum. [text verified 1 time]
- by Frederick Delius (1862 - 1934), "So white, so soft, so sweet is she", 1914-5, published 1919 [voice and piano], from Four Old English Lyrics, no. 2. [text not verified]
- by Muriel Emily Herbert (1897 - 1984), "Have you seen but a white lily grow?", published 1926 [voice and piano], London : Augener [text not verified]
- by Robert Johnson (c1583 - 1633), "Have you seen but a white lily grow?" [voice and lute] [text verified 1 time]
- by Elizabeth Maconchy (1907 - 1994), "Have you seen but a bright lily grow?", 1929, published 1930. [voice and piano] [text verified 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 13
Word count: 92